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From Slam Dunk to Jam Funk

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are the pop wizards who got booted out of the Time but went on to fame as hit producers for everyone from Janet Jackson and Alexander O’Neal to New Edition and Herb Alpert. Now they’re finally heading back into the studio to make an album. Their album. “Finally is right,” Jimmy Jam said, in town to accept ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year Award for the duo. “We just kept getting distracted by all these other projects--I mean project after project. We were going to try to do it between projects, but we realized we’d be cheating ourselves. We knew we had to take the time to do it right. And if you say no to enough people, you can block out the time.”

Though the production duo has frequently been associated with A&M; Records, their solo contract is with CBS Records, a deal they credit to Clarence Avon, who’s worked with the pair throughout their career. Jam said they hope to have the album, tentatively titled “The Secret,” out by the end of the year. It will feature the duo, with vocalist Lisa Keith and a cast of--well-- dozens. “Everyone we’ve ever worked with has called and said they’d love to come by and do stuff,” Jam said. “So I guess it’ll be a cross between an actual band and a Quincy Jones album. We’ve talked to Alexander, Janet, Chirelle, New Edition, Morris, Jesse Johnson--I wouldn’t rule anybody out. We’ll find something for them to do.”

One thing you can rule out is Jam and Lewis posing naked on the album cover--a trick their old pal, Prince, just pulled off--with much controversy and subsequent record sales. “I can guarantee you won’t see us naked on any album cover--I certainly wouldn’t want to look at myself like that,” Jam said with a laugh. “We should have a pretty woman on the cover. Maybe Lisa Bonet would like to pose, like she did with Rolling Stone. That would be fine with us!”


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